Online programs are frequently criticized for high drop out rates. This might have been an accurate view at one time…but no longer is. For example, at Athabasca University, our course completion rates are high. From the draft report:
As was the case in previous years, 85% of courses started by undergraduate students were successfully completed (the other 15% withdrew or failed; graduate and “non-starter” registrations were excluded).
Online courses that I’ve taught through University of Manitoba have similar high success rates. Why this difference between perception of online course dropouts and reality? I’m not sure. Perhaps increased use of social technologies and interactive learning activities over the last several years have contributed to greater learner success. Perhaps learners are getting more skilled at interacting online, or maybe better learning design helps to engage and motivate learners.
What are your experiences? Do online courses you’ve taught or taken reflect the myth of high dropout rates?